Canberra car accident found to have induced PTSD in bystander

Published 29 May 2020

Road accidents have serious and painful consequences for those involved. Even people who are not physically injured in these incidents can walk away harmed by the experience. Trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder are possible outcomes, and they should be taken seriously. Psychological conditions induced by crashes can linger for years, making life more difficult. Sometimes, these effects can strike people who were neither in a vehicle nor struck by one.

Court rules crash caused PTSD

According to The Canberra Times, the ACT Supreme Court has reached a decision regarding a car accident in November 2016. During the course of the incident, a truck struck a man in the bay of an underground car wash. When the man screamed for help, 59-year-old bystander Wendy Lee ran to tell the driver to stop, after which she and the motorist helped the man out from under the truck.

Lee received a diagnosis of PTSD following the incident, after which she suffered issues in her work and socially. The case to determine whether the driver in the case was responsible for inducing PTSD spent years making its way to the state Supreme Court. Justice John Burns stated that despite the fact that Lee was susceptible to PTSD due to her mental health history, the driver was still legally responsible for causing her condition through his negligence, leading to over $176,000 in damages. The driver was an employee of the car wash where the incident occurred.

PTSD may be under-studied in car accidents

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners recently reported on work by Dr. Sean Black-Tiong to determine whether PTSD is being overlooked in cases where people are involved in road accidents but not hospitalised. There is concern about PTSD going undiagnosed and untreated, as being involved in a crash could cause this or another anxiety disorders to either appear or recur following a crash. People who have suffered such conditions in the past could be at a high risk of such issues recurring following an accident.

How to bring a motor vehicle accident case

If you or a loved one has been harmed as a result of a motor vehicle accident in Canberra or the ACT, you should have an experienced lawyer on your side to make sure your case for damages has the greatest possible chance of success. Even people who are partially at fault in a collision may be liable to receive damages if injured. If you have been involved in a road accident and suffered harm, reach out to the experts at Gerard Malouf & Partners for a free appointment